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HTML-Ed v.96b- by Colin Hildinger

HTML-Ed is, in my opinion, the sports car of HTML editors. It's small, it's fast, and, in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, it really performs. I'm using it right now (GIF, 20k) and use it all the time. I have to admit (shamefully) that I am not a registered owner of HTML-Ed yet, but will be registering it in my first batch of "Post-Higher-Education Software Registrations." That's a promise. Paychecks are a wonderful thing.

The Options

There are a lot of solutions for creating HTML, but I like to stick with the direct way: text and tags. Sure, you could use a WYSIWIG editor to create your HTML, but I find that when you do that you can easily create pages that: a) waste space with extraneous tags and b) don't necessarily look good in all browsers. The web is not WYSIWIG, as much as Microsoft and now Netscape want it to be. There's nothing more irritating that pulling up a page on your 1280x1024 desktop and realizing that some idiot wrote it so that it would only use the left half of the screen. You end up having to tweak your raw HTML after creating it so that it's clean and "right." Sure, some people don't, but there are a ton of web pages out there which just don't work as intended.

There are also a number of other editors out there which can be used as HTML editors, some of which have plug-in modules available (usually created by third parties) which add HTML tag support. These are nice if you already use the editor extensively and are familiar with them. There are also other HTML-specific editors which let you drop the tags into the text, but in my experience, none of them are quite as quick and slick as HTML-Ed.

How it Works for Me

With easy-to-remember key combinations you can insert all the common HTML 2.0 and many HTML 3.0 tags. Some of the tags, like the <image> tag, also have dialog boxes which help you fill in the blanks. The dialog I just mentioned also has the nice habit of detecting the size of an image and putting the proper height and width tags with it to speed up loading of the web page you are creating. There is even a list of "special characters" which you can insert, like the less than and greater than symbols I used above. When I started using HTML-Ed (and when I started doing web pages) I used the drop down menu system to find the tags I wanted, but now I pretty much stick to the key combinations because I'm so familiar with them. It seems that other programs may appear a little easier to learn, but if you're doing any serious amounts of editing, HTML-Ed becomes a minimal effort way of doing things. My hands almost never leave the keyboard.

When I want to see how a page looks, I hit <alt>-t and I see what it looks like in Web Explorer, because HTML-Ed is capable of using the Web Explorer DLL's to display HTML within its own window (GIF, 22k). I can have multiple web pages open in one window through the use of HTML-Ed's Ring Editing feature. You get a little left and right arrow that lets you quickly flip between pages. I also have HTML-Ed set to automatically keep open each HTML page I go to when doing a preview. That way, when editing my games page, for instance, I can "browse" each of the pages I want to edit while in preview mode, and then switch back to edit mode and they're all open. Then when I'm done I "Save All" and upload the updates. Again, HTML-Ed does things fast and simple. No dillydallying around for hours in "file->open" dialog boxes, I open the root page for one of my web pages from a shadow on my Tab Launchpad, and I'm set.

And then for those of you eager to customize to the hilt, HTML-Ed offers both the ability to redefine the keyboard shortcuts to your own liking, plus a fairly comprehensive Rexx interface. With its built-in library of commands, any Rexx programmer should have no trouble with adding his or her own functionality.

What Could be Improved?

Well, first of all, the program hasn't been updated since the middle of 1996. I hope this changes, because I really like it and hope it doesn't wither with the wealth of new HTML tags being created by Microsoft, Netscape, and others. The first feature which is absent, thank God, is support for frames. I think frames are a tool which can be very nice when used properly and viewed properly, but that they defy the "view anywhere" mission of HTML. I avoid their use. Support for table tags, on the other hand, would be greatly appreciated. Sure, I can create my tables manually, but it would be really nice if they could be treated in a way similar to the way images are treated. There are other tags that are absent, but most of the ones you really need existed in HTML 2.0 and 3.0, so I won't dwell on it.

Finally, there are one or two mildly annoying bugs that the author could fix. Actually, I can only think of one bug, and it didn't exist in the previous version, but I really do hope that the author will consider dusting off the code and expanding it. Perhaps adding in support for using Netscape for OS/2 as your previewer, or just adding in some more tags. Even if he doesn't, he's earned my $20 because HTML-Ed is truly a productivity tool.

Editor's note: To see what another OS/2 e-Zine! writer thought of HTML-Ed a few years ago, see Chris Wenham's review of HTML-Ed v.94b.

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HTML-Ed v.96b

by Ian Prest
download from the OS/2 Supersite (ZIP, 178k)
Registration: US$20

Colin Hildinger is a Mechanical Engineer working for Enviro Systems, Inc. where he manages the network and designs aircraft heating, air conditioning, and pressurization systems. He has been using OS/2 for the last 3 years. In addition to being the Games Editor for OS/2 e-Zine!, he maintains The Ultimate OS/2 Gaming Page and the AWE32 and OS/2 Page in his "spare" time.


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